When one asks about career ambitions as a child, it’s rare that they respond with grand dreams of being a gambling industry executive. It is often the case that people end up in the industry by coincidence before becoming mainstays.
There aren’t many more who have had more interesting career paths into the industry than Richard Taylor. Senior Manager of Responsible Gambling at BetMGM, Taylor was the latest in the Martin Lycka Safe Bet Show hot seat and detailed his career from a marine corp to a gambling executive.
He spent four years in the military, which he described as “the most impactful and important four years of my life outside of being a father and a husband”.
Taylor also learned valuable lessons from the experience that equipped him with the tools to succeed in the corporate world. Yet, he did pick up some habits that were a little tougher to shift.
“The first Friday that I was working at the law firm, I started to empty out all of the trash bins around the firm. My boss, the managing partner at the firm said, ‘What are you doing?’ And I said, ‘It’s Friday, we have to empty out the garbage and take it out.’ He said there are staff within the facilities that do that – you don’t have to do that anymore.”
Taylor and Lycka then moved on to the people who inspired them to join the industry and, in particular, responsible gaming. Both cited Alan Feldman, who Taylor noted was a key figure in bringing him into the RG scene.
“There are so many words that I could say about Alan but I think the most important to me has been my mentor and friend. He’s the one who gave me this opportunity in responsible gambling. He’s a friend, he’s empathetic, he takes an interest, and he cares about what’s going on in other people’s lives.
“It certainly has had a huge impact on me because most of what I know about responsible gambling, most of what I know about this industry, in some way, or form was shaped by my interactions and my time spent with Alan.”
Talk soon turned towards responsible gaming at BetMGM and the strategy the operator takes across its 27 regulated states to keep players safe. Taylor explained that collaboration and communication is essential between different organizations to perfect an RG strategy.
Taylor, as part of the AGA’s responsible gaming board, is well-versed in this and acknowledged that having positive relationships with regulators and other stakeholders helps BetMGM to remain compliant.
“Having a relationship with the stakeholders, showing them how we do Responsible Gambling, what some of the best practices that we’ve identified are, and helping them understand how seriously BetMGM and other operators take this topic (is important).
“I think what’s helped a lot in the past few years, with new states coming on board and new regulations being written, is for us to be able to open our doors and show them how we do this, how we approach this topic, and most importantly, how do we take care of our customers.”